There was a Petanque competition last week, open to all, which we had a go at. You can just see the orange cochonet or piglet that Nia is aiming for in the foreground. We failed to figure in the prize list but had a lot of fun throwing the boules.
The prizes were doled out in the bar that evening; our Welsh friend Les won the first prize. It was a Thursday night which is the BOGOF evening at Marjal and the bar was busy. The moustachioed man dancing a jig just beyond Nia is Olaf, one of our Dutch friends.
The next day, our lovely neighbours Adrian and Jan took us out to a Spanish restaurant..Paco’s..at Rojales. It was packed with locals, always a good sign, and the food was scrumptious. There is a large barbecue within the restaurant where you can watch the food cooking. Sadly Adrian and Jan have just gone back home…nothing to do with us parking next to them we hope…
Ad and Riet, our Dutch friends, also came along.
We had a walk alongside the ponds in the nature reserve that evening.
The next day we cycled through Catral and on along a cycle track to the town of Dolores. There is a lovely Moorish style church in the centre.
The Krays attracted a bit of attention. This guy was here with his family enjoying a stroll about town.
We cycled back through the El Fondo nature reserve. There are always one or two Marsh harriers flapping lazily about here, over the reeds, and loads of flamingos and egrets.
Nia’s birthday was celebrated with some of our Petanque friends at a Chinese restaurant in Guardamar, a town about 15 miles down the coast. After a few delicious courses Nia was given a birthday ice cream, complete with candle (and a present of a fruit bowl) by the proprietor, seated for the pic next to Nia.
After the meal we were all treated to a massage….Nia first as birthday girl. I didn’t get the man’s name…he spoke no English…but he was very good and worked on a few other necks around the restaurant after he’d done us.
Heather getting the works.
Les, Heather, John, (Heather’s partner, snooker expert and head handkerchief wearer) and Alex.
Les, petanque champion, who very kindly drove us to the restaurant.
Vick and Alex, recently arrived from the UK, had come along with their two border terriers. The hounds had stayed in their car whilst we ate but young Alfie got a cuddle from Nia after the meal.
A couple of days later our Dutch friends Ad and Riet took us out for a Spanish meal in a converted barn at La Herradura restaurant at Los Montesinos, near Torrevieja.
There was a live Spanish guitar and drum accompaniment to the meal. The guitarists took turns at singing and then the man on the left did a few unaccompanied songs. It was a brilliant, breathtaking, performance which at its first note completely silenced the hubbub of eating and chatting in the room.
Half way through we were all treated to Cava on the house. It is a lovely feature of dining in Spain that at some time in the meal you will be given a drink which doesn’t feature on the bill. Often you will be presented with a large liqueur once the bill has been paid.
On the Saturday we dropped in briefly to an English market being held on Marjal plaza (cactus anyone?) then cycled east to Elche which is a biggish town ten miles away.
There is a good bike track in the middle of the main road in Elche, which leads to a long park running alongside the River Vinolopa, which runs through the town.
The river bed has been concreted and at times of low rainfall, as now, water only flows along a small central channel. The dry river bed has been extensively be-muralled.
We walked around the Halloween celebrations at Marjal that evening.
Nia had thoughtfully loaded her handbag with chocolate eyeballs which she handed out to assorted zombies, angels of death and other creatures of the night.
Not everyone fancied a fresh eyeball…the little guy in horns on the right gave the offering some careful consideration and then politely declined the gift.